Instead of strolling around in stores, consumers are shopping from the comfort of their own homes and making e-commerce a vital shopping channel since the new reality happened. At the same time, COVID-19 accelerated the need for brands to navigate the new world in order to grow or maintain businesses in the retail industry.
For the start of the holiday shopping quarter in October, Aussies spent $3.1 billion online – a 70.8% through-the-year increase, according to Australian Bureau of Statistics.
U.S. retailers such as Walmart and Macy’s have begun to use stores as fulfillment centers for online orders to keep up with the demand for next-day and faster delivery. Major chains like Target and Best Buy followed Amazon’s lead on Prime Day, launching online deals of their own.
While many shoppers will gravitate back toward brick-and-mortar post-pandemic, retailers need to deliver thoughtful solutions to meet consumers where they are shopping now and in the future.
Meeting customers where they are
Retailers have a massive opportunity to grow their business with the e-commerce surge by connecting with shoppers online. Those who can best bridge the online and offline shopping journeys will be able to build loyal customer relationships and come out on top.
Smartly.io recently surveyed more than 2,000 consumers around the world. 39% of Aussies said the pandemic has made them more open to engage with social media ads, and 25% made a purchase from a social media ad in August.
Not only is social media becoming a part of consumers’ online shopping journey, it is also influencing purchase decisions – this presents a more competitive environment on paid social, and brands need to find new strategies in order to stand out.
Converting weekly or monthly offers into social ads
For large retailers who typically spend advertising dollars driving shoppers in-store, shifting strategies quickly and effectively presents new challenges. Furniture giant IKEA has traditionally produced millions of catalogs as part of their marketing strategy, but recently decided to cease production after seventy years – and will now have to redirect money on marketing online and through other channels.
Retailers can successfully increase reach and build engagement around their e-commerce business by transforming their digital coupons and weekly or monthly flyers into social ads. According to the same study on consumers by Smartly.io, 45% of global consumers would like to see e-commerce brands showcase price offers and sale items in their social media ads, and the same goes for grocery brands.
This strategy is easier said than done, considering 72% of global advertisers agree that their social media ad creation and delivery involves manual processes that are often time consuming.
Retailers must note that a blanket marketing strategy won’t work. Instead, brands will need to track consumer behavior and act locally.
Real-time messaging and ad testing will determine what is best resonating with consumers in each location. Retailers can localize campaigns at scale automatically by connecting a data source containing store-level, zip code or DMA-level pricing. Campaign updates can also be obtained in real-time with a brand’s feed or catalog so that shoppers always see the correct offers for their local store. From there, brands can optimize their campaigns accordingly.
Whether it is to promote a full weekly flyer, highest margin items, temporary offers or events, automating this process will allow retailers more efficiencies and could give them an edge in the marketplace.
For more tips on how retailers can succeed in the new normal online, download the free ebook Retail Re-UP: Adjusting to the Next Normal of Social Advertising here.